The rate of abortion in the US has fallen to the lowest point since it was legalised in 1973, according to a new study.
The latest statistics from the Guttmacher Institute – a pro-abortion think tank – showed that there were fewer than 17 abortions per 1,000 women in 2011 which is down 13 per cent since 2008.
National Right to Life President Carol Tobias said the figures are “heartening” because they show that women are “rejecting the idea of abortion as the answer to an unexpected pregnancy”.
“This latest report from Guttmacher shows the long-term efforts of the right-to-life movement to educate the country about the humanity of the unborn child and to enact laws that help children and their mothers are having a tremendous impact”, she added.
A research fellow for a Christian public policy organisation has linked the lower abortion rate to better abstinence teaching programmes.
Brenda Zurita said in a piece for the Washington Times that the Guttmacher report “glaringly omits” a national review from 2010 which showed that abstinence programmes are “exceeding expectations”.
She said the Healthy People 2010 review “indicates that the goals for reducing teenage pregnancy during the period 2006 through 2008 almost hit the 100 percent mark”.
The authors of the Guttmacher report, Rachel Jones and Jenna Jerman, said that a national drop in overall pregnancy and birth rates along with the recent recession could be the reasons for the results.
They also attribute the fall in the abortion rate to long-term contraceptive methods, including some which may act as abortifacients.
The number of laws restricting abortion in certain states has increased in recent years – but the authors say these haven’t contributed to the lower abortion rate because a decrease can be seen even in states where the law is more liberal.
But Carol Tobias said this conclusion ignores the “significant educational impact” of the public policy debate surrounding pro-life legislation.
“Pro-life legislative efforts at the federal and state levels dating back to the 1980s have established legal protections for unborn children and their mothers”, she added.